Leftwich says Winston is getting better

by Gary Shelton on November 22, 2019

in general

Arians, Leftwich compare notes./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

He is coming off another four interception afternoon. Another loss. Another disappointment.

And yet, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich thinks quarterback Jameis Winston is getting better.


“I love working with Jameis," Leftwich said Thursday. "I think Jameis is getting better. Yes, we’ve got to fix the turnover thing. I know that, I understand that – regardless of if they are on him or not. As an offense, we’ve got to fix the turnover thing. It’s not really all Jameis. We are talking that way, but when we talk as a group, anybody that touched the football is really in control – as you can see the past couple of games – in control of the ball. We’ve got to do a better job of keeping the ball and making sure we finish every series and every drive with a kick.

"If we do that, we give ourselves a chance because of the talent that we have. But we’ve got to have an understanding that we can’t go into games having three [or] four turnovers, regardless of how they [come], especially when you’re playing good football teams. It’s going to be difficult to win [those] football games. We understand that, we’ll get better at it and we’ll continue trying to put ourselves in better position to win football games.”

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Bowles has to stop jones and his teammates./TIM WIRT

Winston leads the NFL with 18 interceptions.

“It’s difficult for me to speak because this is our first year here," Leftwich said. "All we go off is what we know here. It’s difficult to win in this league. You’ve got to play well across the board – especially from a situational football standpoint – to consistently win. We understand that, but it’s still about getting it done when we have to get it done within the game. That’s where you win the game. These guys prep as much as they can prep. They are energetic, they are focused, they lock in, they play their tails off (and) they give you everything they can, especially from a physical standpoint. Now, as we are getting into this thing, we are learning how to win together. We’ve got to learn how to win together. It doesn’t really matter what happened in the past. I think we’ve got the right recipe, with the way these guys attack the game of football, to win football games. It just hasn’t happened. Right now, we are going to focus in, lock in and keep working our tails off.

"We just want to keep getting in position to have an opportunity to win football games. I trust the guys in that locker room – the way that they practice, the way they go about football – that we will begin to get that done. I truly believe that because I believe the guys that are in the locker room and the way that they work.”

Winston was sacked twice and hit twelve times last week.

“Yes, but that’s the game of football, " Leftwich said. "That’s what happens in this league when you play quarterback. It’s not just Jameis – you’ve got to do the right thing with the football [and] get the ball in the right places. The best athletes on the whole field are the guys that’ve got their hand in the line of scrimmage playing defense – we understand that. We’ll do a better job of trying to get him not taking shots, but for the most part, the pass protection was clean enough for us to have an opportunity to win the football game.

“That’s the thing that goes week to week, because we had just said that he was doing a good job against the blitz. So, it all depends on how you’re looking at it and what you feel like the point, whoever is trying to make. They have an opportunity to do that and pull those numbers out when they want to. We think he’s fine against the blitz. We’re OK with it, we’re going to keep putting him in situations so we respond well under that and I think he’ll be fine.”

Leftwich said Winston is throwing the ball away when a play has broken down.

"It’s something that you work on." Leftwich said. "It’s hard to play quarterback in this league. One of the hardest things to do is to throw the ball away – trust me. It’s so hard when you’re trying to do what you can every single play because you never know the play that’s going to win the game. You never know when that big play is going to happen. You never know when that third-and-2 conversion [where you’re telling yourself], ‘I can hold it. I completed two of them’ [will happen]. It works – you complete three straight third downs with him being him and then he takes a shot on another one – that’s the game of football. What you do see with him – you see him making the right decisions [and] learning to get the ball out of his hand. That is difficult to do when you have the ball. It’s easy to say, ‘Throw the ball away,’ but when you’re the guy that’s responsible for the offense moving, responsible for the conversions on third downs, that thing becomes tougher than you think of just throwing that ball out. But he’s doing an excellent job of getting that ball out of his hand, not taking unnecessary hits and hopefully we can keep getting better at it.”

The Falcons got off to a horrible start to the season but have won two in a row. Their receiving corps -- starring Julio Jones -- is a particular threat.

“They create big problems, obviously. It’s not just Julio – it’s (Calvin) Ridley, as well," said defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. "They’ve got three tight ends that can play. They throw the ball to the running backs and they have two other receivers that play very well. Then Matt [Ryan] is a very smart guy. I think Dirk [Koetter] does a great job spreading the ball around and mixing up the run and the pass with those guys, so you don’t concentrate on Julio. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

The Bucs play the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday afternoon.

Previous post:

Next post: